That lousy piece of hooey is sappy, phony, dumb and unoriginal, but it somehow became a huge hit. What are people thinking? I gotta admit that it’s kinda enjoyable, in a sugarcoated l’il story for a rainy afternoon way, but still… What really sucks is how superficial and predictable it is, so you know exactly what’s gonna happen before the end of the opening credits. You got that Freddie Prinze Jr. dope as Zack, a character so plastic perfect you wanna hurl. I mean he’s ultra rich, he’s already been accepted at Yale and Harvard, he’s the star of the school’s soccer team. Women want him, men want to be him… You know the drill. How are we supposed to be sorry for Mr. Cool J. Shallow when he loses his bitchy girlfriend to Matthew Lillard? Lillard plays Brock, an arrogant jackass starring in “The Real World” who’s a jerk for sure but is still much more interesting than Prinze’s pretty-boy.
And then you got Rachael Leigh Cook as Laney, a Lisa Simpson-type brainiac outcast, who’s opinionated and an achieved avant-guard artist but who’s a reject in school because she’s poor and clumsy and not like everybody else. Her mom died when she was young (how melodramatic) so se lives just with her pool cleaner dad (Kevin Pollack) and her smartass brother (Kieran Culkin). The movie has He-Man and Cinderella crossing path through one stoopid premise: Zack and a pal make a bet that he can take any dorky chick and make her the prom queen in 6 weeks. This is supposed to be oh so impossible because, even though Miss Laney is Winona Ryder-cute and has killer body, she -lord have mercy- wears glasses and doesn’t live only to fit in the mainstream mold.
So we’re in for about 90 minutes of unrealistic, supposedly hip and funny high school stuff. Laney’s all shocked that Zack tries to woo her, but also flattered, yet suspicious, yet thrilled (are you bored yet?). He goes see her do bad performance art, they play volleyball on the beach (in a scene right out of “Top Gun”), they go to a party where Laney is humiliated (how sad), Zack makes dumbasses bullying Laney’s bro eat pubes (don’t even ask). And then there’s more fall-outs, and it all leads to the forced sentimentality of the prom finale and a ridiculous scene in which Zack runs to save Laney’s virginity from a sneaky jock! Not that it’s the worst movie I’ve ever seen; it’s entertainingly idiotic, it’s fast and flashy and it’s full of pop culture flavored zany dialogue and flavor-of-the-month music like Sixpence None the Richer’s “Kiss Me” (try and see if anyone remember that band or the movie in a year). There’s also an outta-nowhere but kinda cool dance number on Fatboy Slim’s “Rockafeller Skank” led by R&B; crooner Usher Raymond. Prinze and Cook are pretty good, and quirky Lillard made me chuckle a few times.
What’s really loathable about “She’s All That” is the misogynist mentality it carries : dull Mr. Perfection turns an interesting, complex girl into a trophy girlfriend by having an esthetician give her a make-over and jamming her into a tight dress and that’s romantic??? How superficial is that! What’s wrong with not being desperate to fit with those conceited jocks and airhead cheerleaders ? I’m billions of times more into a film like Say Anything (one of my very favorite movies), in which it’s a bright, colorful young man who dates a beautiful but unpopular girl and loves her for her mind, and doesn’t try to change her. “She’s all That” remains watchable, but it’s still stereotypical, fluffy, unchallenging, simplistic and ultimately forgettable.